Finally on vacation!!! After working for so long, I’m sad to admit that I still feel like I don’t really know what to do with all this unstructured free time. Fortunately, there’s been a lot of recipes and cooking projects that I’ve been putting off.
Yesterday I found myself at Dupont Farmer’s Market seeking inspiration for a good fall recipe. I found myself waiting in line for a giant blueberry pancake that Sarah and I have lovingly named, “face pancakes” because they are larger than my face. Their inordinant fluffy texture also means that these pancakes are not easily sated by the embarrassing amount of maple syrup that I drown them in.
On a side note, sometimes farmer’s markets feel like a big game of Settlers of Catan. Definitely overheard vendors bartering with one another, “Two chocolate milks for a pancake?” Sounded like a mutually beneficial trade.
Off to a grand start, I started wandering the stalls and noticing all the various edible and decorative gourds. It’s hard to think of fall and not think of squashes or the unforgettable aromas of its spices. I ended up picking up some acorn squash and some delicious lion’s mane mushrooms from North Cove Mushrooms for this recipe.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Acorn squash 2, halved with seeds out
- Rice 2 cups
- Onion medium, diced
- Mushrooms 1 cup, chopped
- Walnuts 1/2 cup, chopped
- Raisins 1/2 cup
- Spinach 1 cup
- Star anise 3
- Cloves 1/2 T
- Cinnamon sticks 2
- Nutmeg 1/2 T
- Olive oil 2 T
- Parmesan shredded
- Black pepper
Rice: Depending on the kind of rice you use, the proportions of broth may differ. Add your anise, cloves, and cinnamon to the rice to infuse some of those nice flavors and aromas. Remove the anise, cloves, and cinnamon sticks from the rice after it is done.
Squash: Cut the acorn squash into halves and remove the seeds. Lightly coat the insides of the squash with 1 T of olive oil (total for 4 halves). Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven with cut sides facing down on 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes. You want the inside texture to be soft enough that you can pass a fork through fairly easily.
Stuffing: Toast chopped walnuts in a small pan. In a separate pan, heat up 1 T of olive oil on high heat. Add diced onions and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms and spinach. Cook until spinach cooks down. Add rice, walnuts, and raisins. Incorporate all the components well. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Assembly: Fill your squash halves with the stuffing. Sprinkle some Parmesan on top and stick it back in the oven for about 5-10 minutes until the cheese melts. Remove from oven and serve.